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Ridcully the Brown is a kind of parody of Radagast the Brown, one of the Wizards of the order of the Istari from JRR Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings.

While Radagast is a quiet, peaceful being who loves the "birds of the air, and the beasts of the field and knows them all by name", Ridcully is a very different animal. The only speaking to birds he's likely to indulge in is "Winged yer, yer bastard!".

Ridcully seems to me to be the essence of the 18th/19th century British Gentleman. For a good example of the type, check out the Marquis in the film Wilde, a biography of the Irish novelist and playwright, Oscar Wilde starring Stephen Fry and Jude Law.

Ridcully, is however, while just as insensitive and brutish, not actively malicious and indeed, can be kindly and well-meaning.

Mustrum Ridcully was made Archchancellor in his absence because no one else wanted the job. Several of the recent encumbents had had involuntarily short tenures (promotion in the Unseen University was due to the 'Retirement' of your superiors).

The staff of the University were just suprised when he actually showed up. However they soon came to appreciate that Ridcully gave them a stability that they had been lacking ('retirement' attempts on Ridcully either bounced or backfired).

He has been running the Unseen University for some time now. This is a process that involves telling the staff very loudly what he wants and then ignoring the fact that they do what they want (and also ensuring that the Bursar has enough dried frog pills).

Ridcully comes originally from Lancre in the Ramtops - home of the witches (Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Magrat, and now Agnes/Perdita). He apparently was very close to Esme Weatherwax when they were both younger.

Mustrum Ridcully has a staff like all wizards (two actually, if you count the faculty). He seldom keeps it charged: "Anything that can't be dealt with by a couple of whacks from six feet of oak is probably impervious to magic as well". His pointy hat is customised, having struts that can be extended and extra cloth rolled up which can make it into a tent, as well as a lot of little pockets, a spirit stove, three days worth of iron rations and a small bottle of potent alcohol in the tip. A caution - the small bottle you find in his hat might be wow-wow sauce, which should be kept away from open flames as it can quite easily immolate a small cottage.

Despite not apparently understanding anything done in the High Energy Magic building he takes a keen interest in all the goings on there. Computer technicians everywhere will note with glum resignation that even on a medieval world on the back of four elephants standing on a turtle swimming through space you always get the CEO poking into what's going on.

Though he sounds like a fearful oik he is actually very intelligent - He just prefers to have everyone explain things to him. He never changes his mind about anything, and he almost deliberately misunderstands things, so that it takes several minutes to explain new concepts to him. Anything people are still trying to explain after two minutes is obviously important, whereas if they give up before then it probably didn't matter. Like Granny Weatherwax he beleives that the rules he lays down for others do not apply to himself, and so he manages to run the Unseen University by doing what he likes. Because what he likes has nothing to do with anyone else the university can spin along happily, being largely run by The Bursar when his mind is occupying the same reality as his body.

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